Carson city, NV-based BG Radia Corporation has staked its reputation on building loudspeakers that leverage the strengths of planar ribbon drivers. As listeners familiar with those technologies might tell you, well-designed planar ribbon drivers can, at their best, offer effortless and uncanny clarity, delivering sound so lucid and transparent that it almost defies description. The only catch, really, is that it’s not easy to manufacture ribbon drivers that can reproduce lower midrange/bass frequencies at high volume levels, which has led BG Radia to offer hybrid speakers that use conventional piston-type drivers for lower frequencies and planar ribbon drivers for higher frequencies.
BG Radia’s most affordable and conventional looking hybrid models are collectively known as Z-series speakers—a product family that’s been around for quite a while.
About four years ago I reviewed a surround system based on BG’s first Z-series speakers and found it to be very good, though with the minor caveat that you could sometimes hear discontinuities in transient speed and resolution between the speakers’ blazingly fast planar ribbon tweeters and audibly slower conventional woofers. What would have helped, I thought at the time, was a planar ribbon midrange driver to help bridge the gap in the middle. And as it turns out a planar ribbon midrange driver is precisely what BG Radia provides in its newest Z-series models—the Z-92 and Z-62. In theory, these speakers should offer greater clarity from top to bottom and a more seamless blend between drivers, and to test that theory I decided to review a surround rig comprised of two Z-92 floorstanders (used as L/R main speakers), three Z-62 L/C/R speakers (used in the center channel and L/R surround positions), plus one of BG Radia’s 210i subwoofers. How does the complete package sound? Read on.
Consider this speaker system if: you’re passionate about sound quality and want a movie and music-worthy speaker system that delivers blockbuster dynamics, effortless clarity, detail, and levels of sonic finesse rarely (if ever) heard in commercial theaters. But note: you’ll need good electronics for optimal sound.
Look elsewhere if: you are pressed for space or would find the ~$7000 system too pricey. The Z-92s and Z-62s are lovely, but can visually dominate smaller rooms. Also, look further if you favor speakers with a soft, diffuse, “romantic” sound; the Z-models invariably give you clarity and detail—in spades.
Ratings (compared to sub-$7k surround speaker systems)
Both the Z-92 and Z-62 are three-way, four-driver, bass reflex (i.e., ported) speakers, each featuring dual 6.5-inch mid-bass drivers, a 10-inch x 5-inch Neo10 planar ribbon midrange panel, and a 2.5x3.5-inch Neo3PDR planar ribbon tweeter coaxially mounted in front of the Neo10 panel.
The Z-92 is a full-range floorstander, while the Z-62 is a somewhat smaller, near-full-range stand-mount monitor/center channel speaker.
Relative to the original Z-models (which remain in production), the Z-92/Z-62 get improved 6.5-inch mid-bass drivers featuring anodized aluminum cones driven by “double-gap” motors with Neodymium magnets.
The Z-92 and Z-62 offer gorgeous, real wood veneers with options for light maple or black ash finishes.
The Z-92 and Z-62 both offer—get this—a lifetime parts and labor warranty.
500-watt 210i subwoofer provides dual 10-inch Kevlar woofers arranged in a horizontally opposed, “reactance cancelling” configuration (the woofers face in opposite directions and move outward and inward in unison so that vibration forces exactly cancel out).